Arrangements for Children who are Subject to a Child Protection Plan
AMENDMENTThis chapter was amended in September 2021 as part of the three year review process. Minor changes to language and terminology have been made. It also includes hyperlinks to the LSCP Mobile Families Guidance and the Child Exploitation Screening Tool.
Lincolnshire Children's Services hold information on all children who are subject to a Child Protection Plan within their Integrated Children's System (IT system). This system provides a record of all children resident in Lincolnshire (including those who have been placed there by another local authority or agency) who are considered to be at continuing risk of suffering or likelihood of suffering Significant Harm, and for whom there is a Child Protection Plan. This system is maintained on behalf of LSCP by the Safeguarding and Review Team within Children's Services managed by the Safeguarding Team Manager. This Designated Manager is directly accountable to the Director of Children's Services for this role and has the following responsibilities, ensuring that records on children who have a child protection plan are kept up to date.
The Safeguarding Admin Team are responsible for:
- Ensuring enquiries about children where there are concerns or who have child protection plans are recorded;
- Managing other notifications of movements of children into or out of the local authority area for children subject to a child protection plan;
- Managing notifications of people who may pose a risk of significant harm to children who are either identified with the local authority area or have moved into the local authority area; and
- Managing requests for checks to be made to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children.
2. The Process for Recording if a Child is Subject to a Child Protection Plan
Normally, the decision that a child needs to be subject to a child protection plan will occur only following a decision by a Child Protection Conference (CPC). The exception is when a child who is subject to a child protection plan within another area moves into Lincolnshire. They will then be subject to a Child Protection Plan within Lincolnshire on a 'temporary' basis until an Initial Child Protection Conference in Lincolnshire which will decide whether or not a child protection plan is required. See Section 6, Movement into Lincolnshire.
The Independent chair's report and the plan following a Child Protection Conference will be recorded directly into the Mosaic system by the Meeting Support Assistant.
If a child is agreed to be made subject to a Child Protection Plan, the Chair of the Child Protection Conference must decide what the primary presenting concerns are at the time the protection plan was initiated. The categories used (that is physical, emotional, sexual abuse or neglect) help indicate to those consulting the information system the nature of presenting concerns, and allows for the collation and analysis both locally and nationally.
3. Making Enquiries to Establish if a Child is Subject to a Child Protection Plan
The principal purpose of having the IT capacity to record that a child is the subject of a child protection plan is to enable agencies and professionals to be aware of those children who are judged to be at continuing risk of suffering or likelihood of suffering significant harm and who are the subject of a child protection plan. It is equally important that agencies and professionals can obtain relevant information about other children who are known or have been known to the Lincolnshire Children's Services. Consequently, agencies and professionals who have concerns about a child should be able to obtain information about a child that is recorded on the Lincolnshire Children's Services IT system to assist in decision making on action to take to safeguard a child.
An enquiry to identify if a child is subject to a child protection plan DOES NOT constitute a referral and any concerns that a child may be at risk of suffering or that a child has suffered significant harm MUST result in a referral to Children's Services or the Police on:
Children's Services: Lincoln 01522 782111.
Lincolnshire Police: 01522 532222 or out of hours 0300 111 0300.
4. Information Held
Children's services hold comprehensive information on families where a child is or has been subject to a protection plan including:
- Family details;
- Location/ Address;
- Lead Social Worker/Keyworker;
- Record of the nature of the concerns e.g. physical harm, sexual harm, emotional harm and or neglect.
In addition, information is held on:
- Children who do not have a child protection plan but about whom child protection enquiries have been made;
- Children who have previously been subject to a child protection plan;
- Persons who are considered a risk to children who have previously come to the attention of Children's Services. This is a permanent record which DOES NOT constitute the Sex Offender Register maintained by Lincolnshire Police;
- Individuals identified by the criminal justice agencies as being assessed as a risk to children.
5. Making Enquiries
There are many reasons for making enquiries to ascertain if a child is subject to a Child Protection Plan and professionals should be clear about why they require this information. The information should inform decision making and MUST NOT be used as a tool for sharing information and transferring responsibility of a case. The decision on what action to take as a result of making an enquiry rests with the enquirer.
It is the responsibility of all agencies to instruct their staff on when it would be appropriate to make enquiries to establish if a child is subject to a Child Protection Plan.
A situation where it may be necessary to make enquires to the IT system include:
- Domestic abuse where children are present;
- Missing child;
- Concerns in relation to parenting capacity for an unborn baby;
- Concealed pregnancy/ late presentation;
- Family new into the area and concerns about failure to access services / register with universal services;
- Concerns about the welfare of a child and family who are not engaging with services e.g. series of no access visits;
- As part of a S 47 Enquiry;
- A Child Exploitation Screening Tool is being completed
This list is indicative and suggestive and is not intended as an exhaustive list of indicators to make enquires.
To make an enquiry, the Safeguarding Admin Team should be contacted on:
- During office hours (8.30 to 1700 hrs Mon-Thurs, 8.30 to 1630 hrs on Friday) by contacting the Safeguarding Admin Team on 01522 554061;
- At other times by contacting the Emergency Duty Team on 01522 782333.
Because access to this information is available (at the discretion of the Designated Manager) to a wide range of professionals, it is essential in order to maintain confidentiality that the details of enquirers are verified before information is provided. Accordingly, all enquiries are dealt with on a call-back basis and a record is kept by the Safeguarding Admin Team of each enquiry.
The Safeguarding Admin Team staff will advise enquirers of the following information:
- Whether the child or other children in the family are subject to a child protection plan. If so, the name of the Lead Social Worker from whom enquirers can obtain information;
- Whether the child or other children in the family are not currently subject to a child protection plan but where previous enquiries have been made within the last two years together with details of the previous enquirers;
- Whether the child or other children in the family have been subject to a child protection plan which is now discontinued. Details of the last known key worker are held and will be given to enquirers.
The following actions only are taken by the Safeguarding Admin Team:
- If an enquiry is made about a child who is subject to a child protection plan or a child at the same address as a child who is subject to a child protection plan, the child's Lead Social Worker will be informed;
- If the enquiry raises particular concerns and the caller decides to make a referral to Social Care, the caller will be forwarded to the Customer Service Centre by the Safeguarding Admin Team for referral to be taken;
- Movement of children who are subject to a child protection plan, in and out of Lincolnshire, requires a specific procedure, as detailed below.
Most cases of Significant Harm will involve children living in the local area but experience has shown that some families in which children are harmed move home frequently. There is a real danger that in this way, children can drop through the safety net and only reappear when serious harm has occurred. The Designated Manager of Children's Services information has a specific responsibility to take immediate action to try to trace families where child/ren are the subject of a Child Protection Plan who go missing (please refer to Mobile Families Guidance).
6. Movement into Lincolnshire
Any member of staff from any agency, on establishing that a child is subject to a child protection plan has moved, or is moving into Lincolnshire, should:
- Make immediate telephone contact with her/his equivalent agency in the previous authority to exchange information regarding reasons for the original child protection plan, date of last visit and current level of concern;
- Inform the Safeguarding Admin Team on 01522 554061.
The Safeguarding Admin Team will:
- Contact the Designated Manager in the previous authority with the expectation that she or he will take responsibility for informing relevant persons in the previous authority regarding the move and to ensure they make a referral to Children's Services Customer Service Centre to instigate the Transfer In Process;
- Record that the child is the subject of a child protection plan within Lincolnshire's IT system on a temporary basis until the first Lincolnshire child protection conference takes place;
- The relevant Children's Social Care team in Lincolnshire will following the Transfer In protocol once the previous Local Authority has made a referral to Children's Social Care.
If children subject to a child protection plan made in another area are in Lincolnshire on a temporary basis, but then move before a child protection conference is held, the Safeguarding Admin Team must be notified immediately, along with details of new address, if known. The Lincolnshire Designated Manager should then notify the previous authority's Designated Manager of the move as the child/ren will still be recorded on that authority's information database as being subject to a child protection plan.
7. Movement out of Lincolnshire
Any member of staff, on establishing that a Lincolnshire child who is subject to a child protection plan is moving, or has moved out of the county to a known address, must:
- Make immediate telephone contact with her/his equivalent agency in the new authority to exchange information regarding reasons for the original child protection plan, current level of concern and date of last visit. This should be followed up as soon as possible by written confirmation with relevant reports;
- Inform the Lincolnshire Lead Social Worker.
The Lincolnshire Lead Social Worker has responsibility for:
- Taking any immediate action necessary to safeguard the health or welfare of the child;
- Informing Children's Social Care in the new authority, and establishing temporary arrangements for case responsibility;
- Ensuring that all agencies involved in Lincolnshire are aware of the move and that they are taking responsibility where relevant for informing their equivalent agency in the new authority;
- Informing the Safeguarding and Review Team who will inform their equivalent in the receiving authority. The Social Worker will also send initial and most recent child protection conference minutes;
- Attending and/or providing relevant information for the child protection conference in the receiving authority.
A child protection plan will not be discontinued from Lincolnshire's information system until the receiving authority has made a decision regarding the need for a child protection plan, and the Safeguarding and Review Team has been informed of the decision, and recorded it.
The Safeguarding and Review Team along with the Lincolnshire Lead Social Worker, will issue form SS2/118, 'Notification of discontinuance of child protection plan following movement to another authority', to all key agencies to inform them of the child's move.
8. Movement within Lincolnshire
Any member of staff, on establishing that a child has moved or is moving within Lincolnshire, should:
- Make immediate telephone contact with the relevant office of his/her own agency in the area to which the child has moved/is moving, passing on relevant information concerning the child protection plan and levels of concern. A record should be kept of the information passed on, and the name of the person it was given to;
- Inform the Safeguarding and Review Team.
The Safeguarding and Review Team will then:
- Note the change of address and any other change of circumstances as an enquiry on the information system;
- Inform the existing Lead Social Worker.
The Lead Social Worker is responsible for:
- Taking any immediate action necessary to safeguard the welfare of the child;
- Amending the address on MOSAIC;
- Referring the case to the relevant social care team if the new address is outside the borders of the current team, and establishing temporary case responsibility, which remains with the existing key worker until transfer is negotiated;
- Ensuring that all agencies currently involved are aware of the move and of their responsibility to inform their counterparts in the new area.
An early child protection review should be considered if the move involves a substantial change in circumstances.
9. Missing Children
Any member of staff, on establishing that a Lincolnshire child who is subject to a child protection plan, a Looked After Child or a child who is subject to a Section 47 Enquiry (including expectant mothers) is missing, they should:
- Inform the Lincolnshire Lead Social Worker;
- Follow their own internal procedures in relation to missing children (See LSCP Joint Protocol for Missing Children and Young People);
- Inform the Safeguarding Admin Team;
- When the child is found, follow the relevant policy for movement of a child subject to a child protection plan to the known new address (see Section 6, Movement in Lincolnshire and Section 7, Movement out of Lincolnshire).
The Lincolnshire Lead Social Worker has responsibility for:
- Ensuring that all agencies involved in Lincolnshire, including the Police, are aware that a family is missing and establishing the current level of knowledge, concern and possible whereabouts of the child;
- Undertaking a risk assessment, jointly with the Team Manager, to confirm risk to child/ren and level of notification to recommend to the Service Manager;
- Informing the Safeguarding Admin Team.
The Service Manager will consider based on a risk assessment by the Social Worker and Team Manager, whether to circulate notifications to other Authorities. If the decision is taken to inform other Authorities, only Authorities where there is intelligence to suspect that the family may have moved should be contacted (known relative/ previous addresses/ known contacts).
- If the child is believed to be within Lincolnshire, the Safeguarding Admin Team will advise NSPCC, Accident & Emergency Departments, Education, Community Health, Police and Midwifery Departments as appropriate;
- If the child is believed to be outside Lincolnshire, the Safeguarding Admin Team will advise the NSPCC nationally, DFE and their equivalent counterpart where there is intelligence to suspect that the family may have moved (see Section 7, Movement out of Lincolnshire).
Children who are temporarily resident outside Lincolnshire will remain the responsibility of Lincolnshire until such time as the Lead Social Worker is notified that they have become a permanent resident of another local authority (see Section 7, Movement out of Lincolnshire).
Particulars of children who move out of the UK should be notified immediately to the Lead Social Worker with their new address. The Lead Social Worker will take appropriate action to contact the receiving country in obtaining the new address and exchanging information.
Local agencies and professionals should bear in mind when working with children and families where there are outstanding concerns about the children's safety and welfare (including where the concerns are about an unborn child who may be at future risk of suffering or likelihood of suffering Significant Harm), that a series of missed appointments may indicate that the family has moved out of the area or overseas. Children's social care and the police should be informed immediately when such concerns arise.
In the case of children taken overseas it may be appropriate to contact the Consular Directorate at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which offers assistance to British nationals in distress overseas (020 7008 1500). They may be able to follow up a case through their consular post(s) in the country concerned.
Consideration needs to be given to appropriate legal interventions, where it appears that a child, who has outstanding child protection concerns about their safety and welfare, may be removed from the UK by his/her family in order to avoid the involvement of agencies with safeguarding responsibilities. This also applies when a child, who is subject to a care order, has been removed from the UK. Children's social care, the Police Child Protection Unit and the Child Abduction Section at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office should be informed immediately.
Looked after children may run away or go missing from their care placement. The various agencies responsible for the care of looked after children should understand their own roles in these circumstances. Where there is the possibility that this behaviour is a result of child protection concerns, then Children's Social Care (or others concerned for the child) must follow its procedures to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the area where the child is living. (See LSCP Joint Protocol for Missing Children and Young People).
10. Children Under Supervision of the Court
In all situations where a child is subject to an Order supervised by the Court, it is the duty of the Social Worker to inform the Court immediately of any developments which pose significant risk to the child or where that child goes missing. The Legal Services Department should also be informed.
There may also be children under the supervision of the Youth Offending Service under a court order for a criminal offence. Where these children go missing, the YOT may be able to start enforcement proceedings including issuing a warrant for breach of court order if also in breach of this. Discussion should take place between the Lead Social Worker and the YOT responsible Officer to determine the most appropriate course of action and the decisions recorded with reasons on both files.